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Itinerary Help - Zurich to Geneva

Wife and I (late 40s) have a flight into Zurich late evening (10pm) on July 5th. Flight back to US is out of Geneva on late morning of July 14th. We would like to see as much as possible between the two without spending all our time in trains. Most interested in seeing the areas around Lucerne, Interlaken, Bern, and Montreux, but if there's something better than those areas that's a must-see, nothing is written in stone yet. Assumed that we would spend the first couple of nights and full day in or around Zurich and the last couple of nights and full day in or around Geneva. Other than that we are open to suggestions. We like hiking (not too strenuous), mountain scenery, browsing old towns and good restaurants. We tend to be fairly "quick" travelers, not dawdling or spending too much time in each place. Thinking we would get the train pass for 8 days (6th-13th) unless that doesn't make sense.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Posted by
463 posts

My husband and I did this trip 5 years ago.....here is how. We landed July 16 in Zurich and flew out on July 25 from Geneva. We went to Zurich (1 night), Lucerne ( 1 night), Interlaken (1 night), Lauterbrunnen ( 2 nights), Murten (1 night), Lausanne (2 nights). If I did it again I would not stay in Interlaken- just too touristy-and use that night in Lucerne or Lauterbrunnen. We followed a diagonal line on the map from Zurich to Geneva in our rented car......we squeezed a lot in but did not feel pushed. One night in Zurich in a nice restaurant for a meal, a walk to the waterfront and view of the city after visiting one of their chocolate shops was plenty there for us. We did Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne and were charmed by that city......saw the lion, walked the street with lots of shops, had dinner at Balances-celebrating a birthday-right on the water by the covered bridge. It’s a beautiful city. We did enjoy seeing the hang gliders coming in on the big open field in Interlaken and we also took a really fun motorcycle ride, just the 2 of us, around the 2 lakes that surround Interlaken and that was SUCH FUN. It’s just a really touristy town and its so easy to go there quickly from Lauterbrunnen so I would stay there, not Interlaken. Stayed at the Hotel Silberhorn in Lauterbrunnen and LOVED it.....great location and ate every meal we could on its main drag at Hotel Restaurant Oberland- kept going back because it was so good with a GREAT view. The raclette and ice cream desserts are incredible. You can easily walk the town-see Trummelbach Falls and take the gondola and train up both sides of the valley and use RSteves hiking guide....it was perfect for us. Chose seeing theJungfrau over Schilthorn as it gets pricey and the clouds might ruin the view so we chose 1......an incredible view! So worth it. We did Murten to see Bern and get in a good location to tour the Cailler chocolate factory and see the town of Gruyere. The chocolate tour was SO FUN.....just stand there and eat all you want in its last room before the tour ends.....you can eat all you want but just not take any out......its a treat. We liked Lausanne......saw the Olympic museum and the lakes were lovely....have heard that trips to the fancy hotel in Montreaux for lunch and boat rides there are wonderful but we did not do that.
We wanted to see the reformers statues and park in Geneva but did not think there was that much more to see there.
We have been back once since this trip......chose to stay in Wengen this time so we would be closer to the mountains for easy hiking. Wengen is charming and we loved it but found ourselves training back down most days to eat at the Oberland Hotel in Lauterbrunnen. My husband says there is not enough to do in Wengen and he would stay in Lauterbrunnen when he goes back. The second trip we had a train pass and parked our car in a garage in Lauterbrunnen. That pass was WONDERFUL-hop on and off whenever you want. I guess if I were concentrating on hiking everyday I would stay in Wengen-if I were interested in catching a train on some days and going on side trips I would stay in the valley in Lauterbrunnen.
Hope this helps! Private message me if you need more specifics. You will have a ball!!!

Posted by
1600 posts

hey hey psharman
we were in geneva for 2 nights on rue de la fontaine, stayed near st pierre cathedral, the merry-go-round, few restaurants, flower clock and the lake. it's an expensive city. hired a taxi for about an hour to take us to some monuments and views up above the lake, villa diodati, down quai de cologny stopping for photo ops of lake, sailboats and other side of lake, drive back through downtown to flower clock and took a ride on a lake boat. to me it's really a business town, expensive shops, shuts down early, enough for me to see.
took a cab to annecy for our 6 nights there. there is a bus, about 1 hour. love annecy, they call it the venice of the alps. stay in the old town with it's canals, passageways, shops, restaurants, views, lake, sit and people watch with a glass of vino.
hired a private tour to take us to countrysides, couple castles, churches, lunch at a dairy farm, views to the lake, hanggliders soaring right above you, gorgeous pastures with the cows roaming wearing cowbells, history of the area, mountains, so so worth this tour.
market days in old town were fridays and sundays, was busy but we sat and had a fondue lunch, watched free entertainment along the canals, artists painting, history of that area. got cheesed out, had calzone and pizza for another lunch there. bus station not that far. take a boat ride out on the lake or walk along the promenade. maybe spend 2 nights there, if early arrival check for luggage storage and enjoy this small town, we did. enjoy
aloha

Posted by
1600 posts

hey hey psharman
you can read about annecy and places around the lake at taxiannecygeneva.net. read about gaelle and her blog. very great with responding with emails, speaks great english and a joy to know about her area. used taxi service from geneva to annecy with our fabulous driver that was about 45 minute ride.
walking around the old village, near rue de la gare bridge and le thiou looking at old prison is a small van tour bus (blue), forgot name if interested.
aloha

Posted by
266 posts

Just returned from Geneva a few weeks ago. We read the NYT article about 36 hrs in Geneva and ended up booking the hotel in the Carouge. Hôtel Auberge Communale in Carouge, is a historic hotel in the cutest area of Geneva. It reminded us of Montmartre, and so much more in terms of shops, restaurants, etc. than any area of Geneva than we saw in our 24 hours there. They also give you a travel card and a tram to downtown Geneva is right outside the door and goes directly to the train station, where you will transfer for the direct train to the airport. If you decide to stay there, ask for a room overlooking the garden as it is in the back of the hotel and has a larger room. Basic room but large and in a lovely area.